Small ≠ simple

Karan Chawla / May 04, 2021

1 min read

Small is not the same as simple, and big doesn't have to be complex either.

Reading code is harder than writing code, especially if the code wasn't written with reading in mind. One possible reason we believe small things are simpler things is that it just seems like it's easier to read. If reading is hard, then less reading is easier.

Another reason is that we fall into the trap of feeling like we don't understand the system until we understand everything. And if we feel like we can't adopt something until we understand it all, that's a lot of upfront effort.

We might be looking at our own poor insight into design. Poor designs perhaps work fine when they’re small, but become cumbersome when they’re large. If that’s the case, then the same design mistakes can get made over and over, not observed for what they are simply because each time we start over, the result is small and so appears simple again! Our greedy algorithm here gets us trapped in a loop.

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